In Dallas, a spa day long meant surrendering to sweet boredom in surroundings no more stimulating than cucumber water. Enjoying waterslides, disaster movies, and kimchi stew alongside treatments would have been absurd, unthinkable. But two giant, dueling Korean spas have become widely popular—and not just with the Dallas area’s large Asian population—for their trippy composites of crowd-pleasing amenities, Korean customs, and casual nudity. Myriad cultures embrace the benefits of a communal bath or a good sweat—from the Mexican temezcal to the Japanese sento—and hold them dear to their national identities. South Korea’s many jimjilbangs, where de-stressing marathons are bolstered by food courts, amusements, and napping rooms, provided the model for King Spa and its nearby rival, Carrollton’s Spa Castle. Here’s what to expect.
Pay the entrance fee (no reservations required), typically between $30 and $50, which covers admission for 24 hours (both spas are open around the clock). Receive a wristband to access your locker and track expenses—treatments, food, and drinks cost extra—and pick up a (not flattering) uniform of shorts and a T-shirt to wear later. Slip off your shoes. Find your locker and stash your belongings (don’t forget to bring your bathing suit). Get naked.
I’m Naked. Now What?
In the women’s-only and men’s-only bathing areas, you’ll find showers, hot tubs, steam rooms, and cold-plunge pools. Those who request the signature Korean body scrub receive it here, in the bath area, in the nude. An attendant wearing textured gloves relieves you of your dead skin—and your last shred of modesty.
Put on your swimsuit and head to the coed, bar-adjacent bade pools. These sprawling hot tubs have stations with various configurations of hydrotherapy jets to blast tension from your muscle groups. This zone can be a lively social scene, but because all ages are welcome at both spas, families are as common as couples, squads, and me-timers.
Sweat It Out
Change into the baggy shorts and shirt you were issued and hit the saunas. They feature a variety of temperatures, heat sources, and materials (think gold and charcoal) thought to have therapeutic properties. You don’t have to believe all the claims. The sweat is real.
Which Is for You?
Compare the services and the dining options, from sushi to juices. The biggest difference: King Spa boasts more attractions for children, including an indoor water park that features slides and a lazy river, and movie screenings. With its outdoor pools, it’s easier to unplug at Spa Castle. Either way, go for the otherworldliness; stay because you’re too mellowed out to leave.